Four-Goal Third Lifts #12 Merrimack Over Hockey, 5-3
March 3, 2012
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The UMass hockey team held a 2-1 lead through two periods, but four third period goals helped carry #12 Merrimack (16-10-7, 12-9-5 HEA) past the Mass Attack, 5-3 on Saturday night at Lawler Arena. With the setback, the Minutemen are now 13-15-5 overall and finish Hockey East play at 9-13-4. UMass will enter the Hockey East Tournament as the No. 8 seed and will be playing at No. 1 Boston College next weekend.
Seniors T.J. Syner and Danny Hobbs scored for a second straight night, Syner notching the team's second shorthanded goal of the season to extend his point-scoring streak to four consecutive games. Sophomore Joel Hanley logged an assist to preserve his point streak (four games), as well.
Merrimack capitalized on traffic in front of UMass netminder Steve Mastalerz early on in the opening period. Jesse Todd wristed home a rebound to the left of the UMass net at 3:21 with Jeff Velleca and Ryan Flanigan collecting assists.
After Rocco Carzo was sent off with a five-minute major for boarding at the 16:35 mark, sophomore Conor Sheary was denied by Joe Cannata on a shorthanded breakaway to keep the score at 1-0. Then in the closing seconds of the frame, Syner collected a breakout pass from Sheary and senior Michael Marcou, split the Warriors' defense and put UMass on the board with a man-down tally at 19:54.
With the clock winding down in the second, the Minutemen pulled in front as a shot from the right point by sophomore Colin Shea was redirected by redshirt freshman Steven Guzzo through traffic and past Cannata at 19:30.
Then midway through the third, Merrimack snapped a streak of 17 straight penalty kills for UMass as Connor Toomey and Brendan Ellis set up a power play goal by Josh Myers at the 10:28 mark.
The Warriors pulled in front with a tally from Shawn Bates at 14:53 with Kyle Singleton and Brandon Brodhag registering assists. Less than two minutes later, Flanigan lofted a shot into the top corner of the goal off a feed from Jordan Heywood 16:22 into the final frame to bring the score to 4-2, Merrimack.
However, the late score was not enough as Rhett Bly added an empty net goal at 19:56 to wrap up the win for Merrimack.
UMass ended the evening with a 29-25 advantage in shots, while Mastalerz totaled 20 saves and Cannata registered 26 for the Warriors.
The Minutemen will return to action next Friday, March 9, playing the opening game of a best-of-three Hockey East first round series at Boston College.